By Matt Popchock


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When Spartans and Vikings collide in Hopewell High School’s backyard coliseum, it won’t have the same allure as gladiators against gladiators, but it should bring much of the same ferocity.

It’s the Parkway Conference opener for Montour and its hosts, and it pits two of the most watched teams in WPIAL Class AAA.

Quarterback Dillon Buechel certainly knows he’ll be a marked man. He dropped the game-winning bomb on Hopewell’s secondary late in the fourth quarter of last year’s 36-29 victory over the Vikings. Last week he was a very efficient 9-of-11 for 188 yards and three TD’s in a season-opening rout of Chartiers Valley.

Dillon offered “Mr. High School Sports” this breakdown of Friday’s game:

Senior tailback Julian Durden, now in his second season since transferring from North Catholic, has been a breath of fresh air for Buechel. He ran for over 1,000 yards in Lou Cerro’s offense in 2010, and he opened his 2011 season with 235 rushing yards and four total touchdowns against the Colts.

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His contributions have attracted widespread Division I attention. Right now, Durden tells us he’s looking closely at MAC schools, particularly Kent State, Ohio, and Temple, though he’s also been scouted locally.

Durden talked with “Mr. High School Sports” about what makes Cerro an effective coach, and what has been the key to his success running the rock:

Speaking of Cerro, he’s the one largely responsible for transforming the Spartans from dormant to dominant. Now in his seventh year as head coach (including the one during which ESPN cameras were present), he might be fielding his best team yet, though he’s certainly not taking the Vikings–or anyone else in the Parkway Conference–for granted.

Cerro talked with “Mr. High School Sports” about what it will take to get Montour past Hopewell, and, eventually, back to Heinz Field. He helped break down the Vikings further, and also told us which of his players he thinks should be getting more attention from major colleges:

Kickoff is at 7:00 Friday. You can catch Lanny Frattare and Bob Orkwis on the call on SportsRadio 93.7 The Fan, with pre-game coverage hosted by Don Rebel starting at 6:00.

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